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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37, No. 6. April 10, 1974

Long live indifference?

Long live indifference?

Dear Roger,

It is because there are doubtless freshers this year, who inspired by the prospect of liberty on campus (as opposed to classroom confinement), except more of university than that the only, genuine cry be 'Long live indifference' that this reply is written. Dianne's point of view in her report last week of the gay forum is that of reaction to indifference, whereas true radical renewing passes through that stage and comes out on the other side—to offer what we cannot be indifferent to. I do not think people here are necessarily indifferent or otherwise. It is that people have potentialities for care and/or indifference, and people who are conditioned by their environments are those who conform to the average reaction within the environments.

The trouble with freedom of speech is that a tiny minority will spoil it for the rest, abusing the priviledge and saying what they like!

VUW is at present a very dull boring place because the reasons for its instigation are exhausted. Research has become an end in itself, and people are disillusioned with the rewards it offers either as an end in itself or as a menas to social prestige and wealth. Consequently we are experiencing here a sense of loss of purpose and meaning. This is frustrating and cannot be overcome either by stolid indifference or cynicism.

Those who are the most persuaded that there is some purpose left in the university are the activists. There are many differently-motivated activists on this campus. Some are individuals slotted together; others are institutionalised bodies—the chiefly successful groups are the ones made up of the oldest students, who are well-acquainted with the philosophy of study and why it doesn't work and want some practical alternative. For example those who work for Salient are a small group who seem to understand their aims and have achieved some sort of solidity, status and sense of working within common aims. (That leaves out political back-fighting which has always seemed necessary to omit since so much of it is motivated by pride and egoism). Similarly another group, of which it could be said that anyone with a little application and open-heartedness could come to be gathered into, would by the Christian population, which centres in Ramsey House Kelburn Parade. This is a unified group comprising over the double hundreds, of individuals from many different backgrounds. Then there are other smaller more specific groups and gatherings which are not indifferent, but rather are concerned with the core-cause of their unity. One thinks of the Chemistry Society, Physics Society etc, all of which to the uninitiated seem esoteric and to the self-centred and uninitiated, seem boring. Also the Car Club and Motor Bike Club offer a wider range of interest, which in due consideration to Women's Liberation one sees, are not limited to men but to driven.

Now the central thing about all these groups is that they call the individual to sacrifice time and energy, to pursue some concern external to his or her needs, and to promote inevitably, good feelings and harmony. These are the fruits of such trees. The choice of one's group involves the choice of one's identity. In this last respect it is surely the less-personally centred, more abstract, ideal and consequently far reaching causes that appeal, for they are a path of politics and a means to peace. The desire to end apathy, the hope to be free of both personal and political alienation, are the hope and desire of the peace-makers. And whatever one declares as ones means to promote world-peace it will not come until each individual knows peace in the inner self and outer world of which and in which each self is a vital part, conscious or not. Therefore the fact that we are indifferent, is merely because our eyes have not been opened to the possibilities of involvement, and involvement at VUW offers itself on a very wide scale.

Those interested in the organisations mentioned above go to Contact on the second floor of the Student Union Building. Those who disagree with this letter please express their point of view not only to their neighbours, but to their brothers and sisters per Salient.

Janet Middlemiss